‘Upskilling’: How Employees and Businesses Can Seize the Day

By Jennifer Reynolds for The Globe and Mail

“Upskilling” is a buzzword we are hearing more often these days as organizations grapple with the pace of technological change and the implications that has for their business. Simply put, upskilling is the development of skills an employee will need to perform the same role in the future.

While new technologies present opportunities for efficiencies, better analytics and superior customer experience, harnessing those opportunities requires a work force with quickly evolving skill sets.

New graduates will no doubt provide one source for these in-demand new skills and capabilities, however, the reality is that mid-career employees (ages 35 to 54) make up 87 per cent of the work force in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

Simply replacing mid-career employees with new graduates cannot provide the supply of skilled talent the economy requires for the future. Not to mention, it would result in a tremendous loss of institutional and functional knowledge that could be highly destabilizing, and even destructive, for businesses. Forward-thinking organizations are recognizing that a successful program of upskilling their mid-career employees is not only an integral element to their talent strategy, it could be a defining competitive advantage for their business.

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